Make Your Training Sessions Fun

Possibly the most important key to successful youth basketball coaching is making training sessions fun for everyone – including you. You can only do this with careful planning

Your practice plan should take into account the ages and capabilities of your players, but generally your sessions should follow this pattern:

• A warm-up to raise the heart rate, stretch muscles and get players focused on the session.

• A quick and simple demonstration of the skill or technique that you want them to learn. (Important. Don’t forget to ask them what they think is the best way to pass, shoot or dribble the ball, rather than tell them why you think they should do it that way).

• Some fun games that allow them to practice what you’ve just shown them. While it’s important to plan your practice, be careful not to make them too rigid when players are young. Be prepared to adapt according to what you see and hear on the practice court. Above all, don’t be afraid to let your players play! Don’t try to pack too much in – remember to allow time for discussion, setting up, drinks and even arguments.

Remember these pointers:

DON’T mindlessly stick with a plan that obviously isn’t working. Have a couple of tried and tested alternatives up your sleeve and work out what went wrong afterward.

DON’T use drills that involve children standing in lines for more than a few seconds – they’ll soon get bored and bored players are trouble!

DON’T train children on your own. Always have at least one assistant, even if all they do is grab rebounds and throw outlet passes to shooters. There is also an important health and safety consideration here: who will look after your players if there is an emergency?

DO treat your players with respect. They like you to listen and take notice of their feelings and opinions. Find out what they want from you and agree on some clear ground rules.

“When it comes to team dynamics — on a basketball court or in a corporate setting — maintaining a positive atmosphere is crucial.” Rick Pitino, two-time NCAA champion